Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Techniques Of Assessing Depression

Depression is a devastating condition that affects your mind and body, hindering your ability to function. Whether it's a situational or chronic depression, the symptoms may be subtle and easy to miss. There are a few ways to assess depression.

Signs of Depression

According to the Mayo Clinic, mental and physical symptoms that are warning signs of depression include a marked loss of interest in day-to-day activities, persistent sadness, hopelessness and feelings of worthlessness, a rapid increase or decrease in weight due to severe appetite change, unexplained mood swings (crying for no reason, anger management issues, irritability), insomnia, inability to get out of bed, lack of focus or concentration, suicidal thoughts or behavior and unexplained physical problems, headaches, body aches or back pain.

If you experience any of the warning signs listed above, and the symptoms persist for more than a week, you might have depression. If you generally feel miserable or unhappy and cannot explain why, and this feeling lasts longer than a week, consider seeking help immediately. Depression generally is not something you can "snap out of" without proper care.

Tests for Depression

The National Institutes of Health reports that doctors testing for depression will perform one or all of these assessments: a physical test to make sure you do not have any underlying condition (this includes checking your abdomen, heart rate, blood pressure and temperature); a lab test (to screen for alcohol and drugs, to get a complete blood count and to measure your thyroid function); and a psychological evaluation with your doctor and possibly a mental health care provider. These tests are performed to make sure you that have no physical condition causing your depression and that you are not a danger to yourself or others.

When To Seek Medical Advice

The exact cause of depression is unknown, but the National Institutes of Health recognizes genetics as a possible cause, along with severe illness, stress and trauma or other psychological disorders. If you have any of these conditions, seek an assessment immediately, especially if you notice any symptoms of depression manifesting. If your symptoms persist beyond a few days, or if you have suicidal thoughts, seek care immediately.

Treatment for Depresion

There are many treatment options for depression that fall under two categories: medication and psychotherapy. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication correct chemical imbalances and can help the physical symptoms of depression. Psychotherapy is effective for learning cope with depression and still function on a day-to-day basis. A combination of these two practices has proved to be most effective, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Another treatment option may be to combine one or both of the traditional methods with alternative medicine such as acupuncture, chiropractic care and herbal supplements. Consult your doctor before taking any herbal supplements to avoid harmful drug interactions.

Managing Depression

Along with counseling and therapy, you may find help in a depression support group. You also can manage your depression with a healthy diet, exercise, avoiding alcohol, drugs and excessive caffeine and learning positive behaviors to deal with stress. Another extremely important step is to get a proper amount of sleep each day. By managing your symptoms and trying to function as normally as possible, you can help yourself manage your depression.

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